Acta Parasitologica

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 276–281 | Cite as

Anthelmintic Potential of Cucurbita pepo Seeds on Hymenolepis nana

  • Anan O. Alhawiti
  • Fawzia H. Toulah
  • Majed H. WakidEmail author
Original Paper



The main drug used against Hymenolepis nana is praziquantel (PZQ), which causes side effects and toxicity. In contrast, natural extracts have limited side effects and are safer. Past researches have proved that pumpkin seeds are effective as natural antimicrobial and antiparasitic treatment. The present study investigates a natural alternative and less expensive treatment against H. nana using pumpkin seeds.

Materials and Methods

Healthy female albino mice were divided into four groups: normal control, infected control with H. nana, infected and treated with PZQ, and lastly, the group infected and treated with pumpkin seeds’ extract.


Pumpkin seeds aqueous extract showed a significant reduction (P < 0.05) in the number and length of H. nana adult worms, number and viability of eggs in comparison to the infected control group and PZQ group. Pumpkin seed aqueous extract is proven to be an effective anthelmintic against H. nana.


We recommend pumpkin seed extract as a natural alternative, less expensive and safe therapy for H. nana. This is the first study in Saudi Arabia to investigate the therapeutic effect of pumpkin seeds’ extract on H. nana.


Dwarf tapeworm Pumpkin Praziquantel Intestinal infection 



The authors gratefully thank the managers and workers of King Fahd Medical Research Centre, especially the Special Infectious Agents Unit and the Animal House Unit. Sincere thanks to the specialist and technicians for their beneficial help and cooperation. This study was funded by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of King Fahd Medical Research Centre (KFMRC), King Abdulaziz University (KAU) at which the studies were conducted.


  1. 1.
    Abdel-Rahman M.K. 2006. Effect of Pumpkin Seed (Cucurbita pepo L.) Diets on Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): Chemical and Morphometric Evaluation in Rats. World Journal of Chemistry, 1, 33–40.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Abou Shady O.M., Basyoni M.M., Mahdy O, Bocktor N.Z. 2014. The Effect of Praziquantel and Carica papaya Seeds on Hymenolepis nana Infection in Mice using Scanning Electron Microscope. Parasitology Research, 113, 2827–2836.
  3. 3.
    AL-Bayati N.Y., AL-Aubaidi I.K., AL-Haidari S.H.J. 2009. Anticestodal Activity of the Crude Aqueous Extract of Pumpkin Seed (Cucurbita pepo) against the Dwarf Tapeworm (Hymenolepis nana) in Mice. Ibn Al- Haitham Journal of Pure Applied Sciences, 22, 1–8Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Al-Megrin W.I. 2010. Intestinal Parasites Infection among Immunocompromised Patients in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 13, 390–394.
  5. 5.
    Bardaa S., Ben Halima N., Aloui F., Ben Mansour R., Jabeur H., Bouaziz M., et al. 2016. Oil from Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) Seeds: Evaluation of its Functional Properties on Wound Healing in Rats. Lipids in Health and Disease. PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bayoumy A.M.S., El-Nour M.A., Ali E. 2015. A Comparative Parasitological Study on Treatment of Hymenolepis nana among Immunocompetent and Immunocompromised Infected Mice. Global Veterinaria, 15, 414–422.
  7. 7.
    Costa D. P. C., Cruz A. P.S., Aguiar L.F., Oliveira J.C.S., Fernandes G.L.T., Vasconcelos S.D.D., et al. 2008. Effect of Solanum lycocarpum Aqueous Extracts in Helminth Parasites of Conventionally Maintained Laboratory Mice. Research Journal of Parasitology, 3, 12–19.
  8. 8.
    de Queiroz-Neto A., Mataqueiro M.I., Santana A.E., Alessi A.C. 1994. Toxicologic Evaluation of Acute and Subacute Oral Administration of Cucurbita maxima seed Extracts to Rats and Swine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 43, 45–51.
  9. 9.
    Dkhil M.A. 2014. Role of Berberine in Ameliorating Schistosoma mansoni-Induced Hepatic Injury in Mice. Biological Research, 47, 1–7.
  10. 10.
    Eligail M., Masawi M., Al-Jaser N.M., Abdelrahman K., Shah H. 2010. Audit of Stool Analysis Results to Ensure the Prevalence of Common Types of Intestinal Parasites in Riyadh region, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 17, 1–4.
  11. 11.
    El-Sheikh S.M., El-Assouli S.M. 2001. Prevalence of Viral, Bacterial and Parasitic Enteropathogens among Young Children with Acute Diarrhoea in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Health Population and Nutrition, 19, 25–30.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Feitosa T.F., Vilela V.L.R., Athayde A.C.R., Braga F.R., Dantas E.S., Vieira V.D., et al. 2012. Anthelmintic Efficacy of Pumpkin Seed (Cucurbita pepo Linnaeus, 1753) on Ostrich Gastrointestinal Nematodes in a Semiarid Region of Paraíba State, Brazil. Tropical Animal Health and Production, 45,123–127.
  13. 13.
    François G., Nathalie B., Jean-Pierre V., Daniel P., Didier M. 2006. Effect of Roasting on Tocopherols of Gourd Seeds (Cucurbita pepo). Grasas y Aceites, 57, 409–414.
  14. 14.
    Ghazal A.M., Avery R. 1974. Population Dynamics of Hymenolepis nana in Mice: Fecundity and the ‘Crowding Effect’. Parasitology, 69, 403–15.
  15. 15.
    Grzybek M., Kukula-Koch W., Strachecka A., Jaworska A., Phiri A., Paleolog J et al. 2016. Evaluation of Anthelmintic Activity and Composition of Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) Seed Extracts—In vitro and In vivo Studies. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17, 1–22.
  16. 16.
    Ito A., Onitake K., Sasaki J., Takami T. 1991. Hymenolepis nana: Immunity against Oncosphere Challenge in Mice Previously Given Viable or Non-Viable Oncospheres of H. nana, H. diminuta, H. microstoma and Taenia taeniaeformis. International Journal of Parasitology, 21, 241–245.
  17. 17.
    Jafarian A., Zolfaghari B., Parnianifard M. 2012. The Effects of Methanolic, Chloroform, and Ethylacetate Extracts of the Cucurbita pepo L. on the Delay Type Hypersensitivity and Antibody Production. Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, 7, 217–224.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    John D.T., Petri W.A., Markell E.K., Voge M.M. (Eds.) 2006. Voge’s Medical Parasitology. 9th ed. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, USA., pp 233–234.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Krivogorsky B., Pernat J.A., Douglas K.A., Czerniecki N.J., Grundt P. 2012. Structure-Activity Studies of Some Berberine Analogs as Inhibitors of Toxoplasma gondii. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 22, 2980–2982.
  20. 20.
    Leitao da-Cunha E.V., Fechine I.M., Guedes D.N., Barbosa-Filho J.M., Sobral da Silva M. 2005. Protoberberine Alkaloids. The Alkaloids Chemistry and Biology, 62, 1–75.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Li T., Ito A., Chen X., Long C., Okamoto M., Raoul F., et al. 2012. Usefulness of Pumpkin Seeds Combined With Areca Nut Extract in Community-Based Treatment of Human Taeniasis in Northwest Sichuan Province, China. Acta Tropica, 124, 152–157.
  22. 22.
    Magi E., Talvik H., Jarvis T. 2005. In vivo Studies of the Effect of Medicinal Herbs on the Pig Nodular Worm (Oesophagostomum spp.). Helminthologia, 42, 67–69.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mahmoudvand H., Ayatollahi Mousavi S.A., Sepahvand A., Sharififar F., Ezatpour B., Gorohi F., et al. 2014. Antifungal, Antileishmanial, and Cytotoxicity Activities of Various Extracts of Berberis vulgaris (Berberidaceae) and Its Active Principle Berberine. ISRN Pharmacology, 10;2014.
  24. 24.
    Mirdha R., Samantray J.C. 2002. Hymenolepis nana : A Common Cause of Paediatric Diarrhoea in Urban Slum Dwellers in India. Journal of Tropical Pediatrics, 48, 331–334.
  25. 25.
    Omar A., Elmesallamy Gel-S., Eassa S. 2005. Comparative Study of the Hepatotoxic, Genotoxic and Carcinogenic Effects of Praziquantel Distocide and the Natural Myrrh extract Mirazid on Adult Male Albino Rats. Journal of the Egyptian Society for Parasitology, 35, 313–329.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Patel S. 2013. Pumpkin (Cucurbita sp.) Seeds as Nutraceutic: a Review on Status Quo and Scopes. Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 6, 183–189.
  27. 27.
    Sadaf H.S., Khan S.S., Kanwal N., Tasawer B.M., Ajmal S. 2013. A Review on Diarrhoea Causing Hymenolepis nana-Dwarf Tapeworm. International Research Journal of Pharmacy, 4, 32–35.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Saddiq A.A.N. 2010. Antimicrobial and Therapeutic Effects of the Water Extract of the Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) Plant against some Microbes Causing Food Poisoning. Egyptian Journal of Experimental Biology, 6, 41–49.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Saddiq A.A.N.. 2012. Antifungal and Prophylactic Activity of Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) Extract against Aspergillus flavus and aflatoxin B1. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 6, 6941–6947.
  30. 30.
    Sanad M.M., Al-Furaeihi L. 2006. Effect of some Immunomodulators on the Host-Parasite System in Experimental Hymenolepiasis Nana. Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology, 36, 65–80.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Sapaat A., Satrija F., Mahsol H.H., Ahmad A.H. 2012. Anthelmintic Activity of Papaya seeds on Hymenolepis diminuta Infections in Rats. Tropical Biomedicine. 29, 508–512.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Sengupta R, Banik J. 2013. Comparative Studies on Anthelmintic Potential of Cucurbita maxima (pumpkin) Seeds and Carica papaya (papaya) Seeds. International Journal of Research in Ayurveda and Pharmacy, 4, 530–532.
  33. 33.
    Soares Magalhães R.J., Fançony C., Gamboa D., Langa A.J., Sousa-Figueiredo J.C., Clements A.C.A., et al. 2013. Extending Helminth Control Beyond STH and Schistosomiasis: the Case of Human Hymenolepiasis. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 7, e2321.
  34. 34.
    Thompson R.C.A. 2015. Neglected Zoonotic Helminths: Hymenolepis nana, Echinococcus canadensis, and Ancylostoma ceylanicum. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 21, 426–432.
  35. 35.
    Vennerstrom J.L., Lovelace J.K., Waits V.B., Hanson W.L., Klayman D.L. 1990. Berberine Derivatives as Antileishmanial Drugs. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 34, 918–921.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Wakid M. 2006. Distribution of Intestinal Parasites among Food Handlers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Journal of Parasitic Diseases, 30, 146–152.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Wakid MH, Azhar EI, Zafar TA. 2009. Intestinal Parasitic Infection among Food Handlers in the Holy City of Makkah During Hajj Season 1428 Hegira (2007G). Journal of King Abdulaziz University-Medical Sciences, 16, 39–52.
  38. 38.
    Wakid M.H. 2010. Fecal Occult Blood Test and Gastrointestinal Parasitic Infection. Journal of Parasitology Research, 2010, 15–18.
  39. 39.
    Waller P.J., Bernes G., Thamsborg S.M., Sukura A., Richter S.H., Ingebrigtsen K., et al. 2001. Plants as De-Worming Agents of Livestock in the Nordic Countries : Historical Perspective, Popular Beliefs, and Prospects for the Future. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 42, 31–44.
  40. 40.
    WHO. Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal. (Accessed 30 July 2018).
  41. 41.
    Zaglool D.A.M., Khodari Y.A.W., Gazzaz Z.J., Dhafar K.O.S., Hani A.S., Farooq M.U. 2011. Prevalence of Intestinal Parasites Among Patients of AL-Noor Hospital in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Oman Medical Journal, 26, 182–185.

Copyright information

© Witold Stefański Institute of Parasitology, Polish Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anan O. Alhawiti
    • 1
  • Fawzia H. Toulah
    • 1
  • Majed H. Wakid
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyKing Abdulaziz University, Faculty of Science for GirlsJeddahSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Medical Laboratory TechnologyKing Abdulaziz University, Faculty of Applied Medical SciencesJeddahSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Special Infectious Agents Unit, King Fahd Medical Research CenterKing Abdulaziz UniversityJeddahSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations